A Little Bunting

Sewing bunting in a conservatory

A friend of mine is to be best man at her brother’s wedding next month. The outdoor party needs 300 feet of bunting. A little help was called for…

I love getting out the sewing machine. but so often it lies dusty on my desk, neglected in favour of some fresh air. After the last sunny weekend, I was in danger of never getting the promised bunting made.

So I enlisted my mum’s help (always the answer right?!) We spent the afternoon out in her conservatory, ironing board and sewing machine lined up in assembly-line fashion. Mum ironed the binding in half lengthways and I ran it through the machine with some pinked fabric triangles sandwiched in between.

Sitting at the sewing machine: front and back photo collage

Our sunny workshop made it much easier to sit stitching on such a sunny day. And we still got out in the overgrown country lanes to tramp through the big puddles left by last night’s rain.

Bunting is a pretty satisfying project. You can fly through metres of the stuff at a fair lick, sewing machine rattling off the table as you push the pedal ever-faster. This might be part of the reason why some of the lines are a little wonky. But when you’re looking at 300 feet of the stuff with champagne in hand I figure noone will notice.

Home made bunting hanging up

Rock & Thread

Tom crafting at the table

A 70th birthday wouldn’t be complete without a little handmade goodness. For the geologist in your life, a rock and a bad pun are all you need for some fun gifting.

A needle and some bright threads, a bit of tracing and gluing, and there you have it: a ‘Geology Rocks’ box. And what else to fill it with than rocks? Tom used small brushes and acrylic paints for a geological pebble-map of the Isle of Wight.

Embroidery in progress

For a week our table was covered in projects: paints, pebbles, thread and fabric. Rainy spring days are made for a spot of crafting and Radio 4.

Having given a few homemade gifts recently, I’m not sure what will be my next project. Maybe a spot of selfish knitting is in order!

Embroidery box and embroidered box photo collage

A Bonnie Blanket

Quilt on rocks at the beach

Honestly, it’s ridiculous how quickly time passes. It’s particularly noticeable when you give a new baby gift only to realise that said baby is now four months old (happy unbirthday Little O!) But I still have the quilts made for me when I was born, so I figure they don’t have an expiry date.

I didn’t intend for this gift to be quite so late. But even the simplest of patterns takes time, what with the cutting, the stitching, the big procrastinating pause in the middle of the project where you try all the fabrics in different orders to get just the right blend; and then the basting, the quilting, and the inevitable sewing of the finger and breaking of the needle. But- ta da! I finished!

Rusty sitting in the doorway of a shepherd's hut

I did the final hand stitching in Wales, sitting under the eaves of our tiny cottage. Whilst I did this pleasingly slow and quiet task, I thought of the lasting love in quilts. On our journey up, we stopped in for the night to visit friends. The quilt I made their baby girl is now tucked up with the dolls six years on, ready for tea parties and den-building. The quilt my Grama gave me when I set off to London many moons ago still sits on my desk chair, the bright red fabrics softening with age (and the occasional machine wash!)

Flowers and sewing machine photo collage

This quilt was inspired by Red Pepper, whose tips on binding were also really useful. The design started from the ‘perfect size’ jotted on paper, with strips of bright jelly colour added. Inspired by this ever-exuberant lady I ‘eyeballed’ the quilting; the very wonky quilted lines just prove it’s homemade. After all, I could never abandon my slightly haphazard approach to sewing.

This little project has got me itching to stitch and I’m excited to hear this dressmaker speak at Blogtacular (only three weeks away guys- get get your tickets!)

Quilt and dandelion photo collage

Warm Up Stitches

Tea pot on a tea trivet

This stormy weather is the perfect excuse to stay indoors and finally get down to some long-overdue sewing. It’s been so long, I needed a warm-up project; something I could finish in one sitting. This trivet didn’t require a plan, a pattern, or any measurement. Which is just my style.

Don’t look too closely; you’ll see the botched corners and the less-than-regular hand stitching on the binding. But hey, it’s going to get splashed with tea aplenty so perfection is not its destiny.

Meanwhile, I’m choosing fabrics for a bigger patchwork plan. I’m hoping the next won’t be quite so botched. I’ll have to keep practicing those corners..

Fabrics close-up

Stitching Plans

Paper plans next to mug of coffee

My sewing machine had to take a trip to the mender’s the very day after I bought loads of delicious-looking new fabrics. Sod’s law. It’s now returned home and is just waiting for some attention. Plans are apace, although I’d forgotten how fiddly the maths gets. Or maybe that’s just me..

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying helping my mum-in-law venture in to patchwork. She’s a long-time stitcher of all sorts and we’ve had fun talking patterns and plans. We both have a case of the mañanas when it comes to actually cutting in to our stash. But, I’ve handed over the rotary cutter to Suzie, and my machine is back up and running, so we’ve both run out of excuses. Time to get stitching.

Fabrics laid out